COOL AWARD — The City of Conrad has been selected as the System of the Year for 2011. From the left is Steve Ruhd, former PWD for Conrad, Mayor John Shevlin, PWD Richard Anders, City Finance Office Agnes Fowler, Engineers Scott Murphy and Travis Meyer of Morrison-Maierle, Inc. (Engineers for the projects mentioned in the story) and Water/Wastewater Operator Jerry Griggs. Not pictured is Engineer Nancy Cormier and Byron Grubb, former mayor of Conrad. Photo courtesy of the City of Conrad
Through the Montana Rural Water Systems, Inc., the City of Conrad was recently named the Outstanding System of the Year at a convention in Helena.
According to Travis Meyer of Morrison-Maierle, Inc., in Helena, an engineer on a variety of water projects, “A ‘system’ consists of several parts – all of which, at the end of each day, needs to operate properly and meet compliance regulations.”
To make sure the system operates right, boards and councils have to make critical decisions concerning design, construction, budgets, the treatment process, operations, maintenance and staff.
Going back to 1999, this system, Conrad, was the first to use a new technique of ‘pipe bursting’ to replace sewer lines in the city. The project completed 5,700 feet of eight-inch HDPE pipe. They also sponsored a workshop for state municipal staff to share this information and view actual pipe bursting in action.
To meet new EPA and state compliance regulations, a decision was made to go forward with an upgrade to the surface water treatment plant.
A decision to choose a treatment system not used in Montana has proven over the years to provide excellent treatment that meets federal and state compliance regulations.
In 2002, the first ballasted sand treatment plant in Montana came on line.
In 2006, due to severe drought conditions, a redesign of the surface water intake was undertaken.
A significant decision was made to use a new technique using horizontal directional drilling (more frequently used in natural gas drilling).
The completed project of 2,600 feet of 24-inch pipe, established the longest waste pipeline in Montana.
Most recently, facing compliance problems with our lagoon, and after much consideration, this system made the decision to upgrade to a mechanical treatment plant.
This plant was brought on line in 2010 and will enable the city to stay in compliance under their new discharge permit.
In a related matter, the City of Conrad is a founding member of the Tri-City Inter-local (Cut Bank and Shelby) of which there are agreements to purchase and share equipment for projects.
In part on their award, it notes that, “The system continues to remain proactive in its treatment of water and wastewater, training for their city employees, and providing a vibrant community to live in.”